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Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds by next week, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Opening up vaccine eligibility to young people and children will be crucial as the U.S. works to achieve herd immunity.

The big picture: The FDA approval for teens could come in early next week or even sooner, per AP.

  • The agency is also expected to approve the vaccine for even younger children in the fall.
  • Pfizer has said its vaccine was 100% effective at protecting against COVID-19 in a trial of more than 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15.

Go deeper

California to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or tests for teachers, school staff

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday announced that teachers and other school staff will be required to get vaccinated or agree to get regularly tested.

Why it matters: California is the first state in the U.S. to impose such a requirement. Most states are allowing individual school districts to decide on vaccine and mask requirements.

Education secretary says he would support vaccine mandate for teachers

Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Wednesday he would "favor the vaccine being required" for teachers and other staff, as schools across the country prepare to welcome students this fall.

Why it matters: It comes as the U.S. experiences a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, due in large part to the highly contagious Delta variant, and as hospitals sounds the alarm about an increasing number of kids landing in the hospital after contracting the virus.

Biden's big COVID challenge: Fading vaccines may demand boosters

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The Biden administration is intensely scrutinizing coronavirus vaccines' effectiveness over time, facing the daunting task of timing booster shots right while still convincing the unvaccinated that getting the jab is worthwhile.

The bottom line: The vaccines still work incredibly well at protecting against severe disease and death, meaning the benefits of getting vaccinated are immense. But it's less clear how well they're working at preventing infection, which has huge public health implications with so many Americans still unvaccinated.